Uefa chief says Champions League final could be held outside Europe
The new Uefa president has suggested the Champions League final could be played outside Europe at some point in the future
Aleksander Ceferin, the Slovenian who last month was elected to replace the disgraced Michel Platini, said he planned to open up the right to stage the final to a bidding process and would not rule out it being staged in the United States.
“I think it might be an idea in future but we have to speak about it,” Ceferin said.
“To go from Portugal to Azerbaijan, for example, is almost the same as if you go to New York. For the fans it’s no problem but we should see. It’s a European competition so let’s think about it.”
One idea that has been mooted is moving the semi-finals to the weekend, like the final, in incresae the international audience for European football’s showpiece event.
“We should think also about other markets but how to do it exactly I’m not sure yet. China is financially interesting and the US is not just financially interesting, but football is growing there,” Ceferin told the Associated Press.
“There are some ideas about that because then China is not asleep because it’s Saturday and they can watch.
“But there are many problems concerning that with the calendar of the leagues. National leagues are too important. You have the Premier League which is very strong. It’s an idea but it’s too early to say anything concrete on it.”
Ceferin has said he may look again at a recent deal between the European Club Association and Uefa over revenue distribution from the Champions League but he seems unlikely to tamper with a deal that would almost certainly put him at loggerheads with Europe’s leading clubs.
The Uefa chief also said is awaiting a “proper analysis” of the plan of his Fifa counterpart, Gianni Infantino, to increase the World Cup to 40 or 48 teams but would defend the proportion of places awarded to European teams. Thirteen teams qualify for the World Cup the continent and Ceferin believes “fans in North America and Asia prefer to watch our teams”.
“If you put it to a vote we might lose but we are the strongest confederation, nobody should forget that we are strongest in quality and all other aspects,” Ceferin said. “We have the best national teams. So I doubt they will outvote us.”